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A dome of laths, and o'er it felts were

spread. And Sohrab came there, and went in, and

stood Upon the thick piled

carpets in the tent,

25 And found the old man sleeping on his bed Of rugs and felts, and near him lay his

arms, And Peran-Wisa heard him, though the

step Was dulled; for he slept light, an old

man's sleep; And he rose quickly on

one arm, and said: “Who are thou? for it is not yet clear

dawn. Speak! is there news,

any night alarm?"




And the first gray of morning filled the

east, And the fog rose out of the Oxus stream. But all the Tartar camp along the stream Was hushed, and still the men

plunged in sleep; Sohrab alone, he slept not; all night long 5 He had lain wakeful, tossing on his bed; But when the gray dawn stole into his

tent, He rose, and clad himself, and girt his

sword, And took his horseman's cloak, and left his

tent; And went abroad into the cold wet fog, 10 Through the dim camp to Peran-Wisa's

tent. Through the black Tartar tents he

passed, which stood Clustering like beehives on the low flat

strand Of Oxus, where the summer-floods o'er

Aow When the sun melts the snows in high

Pamere; Through the black tents he passed, o'er

that low strand, And to a hillock came, a little back From the stream's brink the spot where

first a boat, Crossing the stream in summer, scrapes the

land. The men of former times had crowned the

top With a clay fort; but that was fall’n, and

But Sohrab came to the bedside, and

said: "Thou know'st me, Peran-Wisa! it is I. The sun is not yet risen, and the foe 35 Sleep; but I sleep not; all night long I lie Tossing and wakeful, and I come to thee. For so did King Afrasiab bid me seek Thy counsel, and to heed thee as thy son, In Samarcand, before the army marched; And I will tell thee what my heart de

sires. Thou know'st if, since from Ader-baijan

first I came among the Tartars and bore arms, I have still served Afrasiab well, and

shown, At my boy's years, the courage of a man. 45 This too thou know'st, that while I still



bear on

The conquering Tartar ensigns through

the world, And beat the Persians back on every field, I seek one man, one man, and one alone Rustum, my father; who I hoped should greet,

50 Should one day greet, upon some well

fought field, His not unworthy, not inglorious son. So I long hoped, but him I never find.



The Tartars built there Peran-Wisa's


Yet my

Come then, hear now, and grant me what

I ask. Let the two armies rest today; but I 55 Will challenge forth the bravest Persian

lords To meet me, man to man; if I prevail, Rustum will surely hear it; if I fall Old man, the dead need no one, claim no

kin, Dim is the rumor of a common fight, Where host meets host, and many names

are sunk; But of a single combat fame speaks clear.”

There go! — Thou wilt not?

heart forebodes Danger or death awaits thee on this field. Fain would I know thee safe and well,

though lost To us; fain therefore send thee hence, in

peace To seek thy father, not seek single

fights In vain; — but who can keep the lion's cub From ravening, and who govern Rustum's

son? Go, I will grant thee what thy heart de




He spoke; and Peran-Wisa took the

hand Of the young man in his, and sighed, and

said: “O Sohrab, an unquiet heart is thine! 65 Canst thou not rest among the Tartar

chiefs, And share the battle's common chance

with us

So said he, and dropped Sohrab's hand,

and left His bed, and the warm rugs whereon he lay;

95 And o'er his chilly limbs his woollen coat He passed, and tied his sandals on his feet, And threw a white cloak round him, and

he took In his right hand a ruler's staff, no sword; And on his head he set his sheep-skin

сар, Black, glossy, curled, the fleece of Kara

Kul; And raised the curtain of his tent, and

called His herald to his side, and went abroad.



Who love thee, but must press for ever

first, In single fight incurring single risk, To find a father thou hast never seen? 70 That were far best, my son, to stay with us Unmurmuring; in our tents, while it is

war, And when 'tis truce, then in Afrasiab's

towns. But, if this one desire indeed rules all, To seek out Rustum — seek him not

through fight! Seek him in peace, and carry to his arms, O Sohrab, carry an unwounded son! But far hence seek him, for he is not here. For now it is not as when I was young, When Rustum was in front of every

fray; But now he keeps apart, and sits at home, In Seistan, with Zal, his father old. Whether that his own mighty strength at

last Feels the abhorred approaches of old age, Or in some quarrel with the Persian


The sun by this had risen, and cleared

the fog From the broad Oxus and the glittering sands.

105 And from their tents the Tartar horsemen

filed Into the open plain; so Haman bade Haman, who next to Peran-Wisa ruled The host, and still was in his lusty prime. From their black tents, long files of horse,

they streamed; As when some gray November morn the

files, In marching order spread, of long-neck'd




Stream over Casbin and the southern



Threading the Tartar squadrons to the

front, And with his staff kept back the foremost

ranks. And when Ferood, who led the Persians,




Of Elburz, from the Aralian estuaries, Or some frore Caspian reed-bed, southward bound

115 For the warm Persian sea-board so they

streamed. The Tartars of the Oxus, the King's

guard, First, with black sheep-skin caps and with

long spears; Large men, large steeds; who from Bok

hara come And Khiva, and ferment the milk of

120 Next, the more temperate Toorkmuns of

the south, The Tukas, and the lances of Salore, And those from Attruck and the Caspian

sands; Light men and on light steeds, who only

drink The acrid milk of camels, and their

wells. And then a swarm of wandering horse,

who came From afar, and a more doubtful service

owned; The Tartars of Ferghana, from the

banks Of the Jaxartes, men with scanty beards And close-set skull-caps; and those wilder hordes

130 Who roam o'er Kipchak and the northern

waste, Kalmucks and unkempt Kuzzaks, tribes

That Peran-Wisa kept the Tartars

back, He took his spear, and to the front he

came, And checked his ranks, and fixed them

where they stood. And the old Tartar came upon the sand Betwixt the silent hosts, and spake, and

said: "Ferood, and ye, Persians and Tartars,

hear! Let there be truce between the hosts today. But choose a champion from the Persian

lords To fight our champion Sohrab, man





As, in the country, on a morn in June, When the dew glistens on the pearled ears,

155 A shiver runs through the deep corn for

joy So, when they heard what Peran-Wisa

said, A thrill through all the Tartar squadrons


Of pride and hope for Sohrab, whom they


who stray



Nearest the Pole, and wandering Kir

ghizzes, Who come on shaggy ponies from Pamere; These all filed out from camp into the plain.

135 And the other side the Persians

formed: First a light cloud of horse, Tartars they

seemed, The Ilyats of Khorassan; and behind, The royal troops of Persia, horse and foot, Marshalled battalions bright in burnished steel.

140 But Peran-Wisa with his herald came,

But as a troop of pedlars, from Ca

bool, Cross underneath the Indian Caucasus, That vast sky-neighboring mountain of

milk snow; Crossing so high, that, as they mount, they

pass Long focks of travelling birds dead on the

snow, Choked by the air, and scarce can they

themselves Slake their parched throats with sugared









In single file they move, and stop their Just pitched; the high pavilion in the midst breath,

Was Rustum's, and his men lay camped For fear they should dislodge the o'er around. hanging snows

And Gudurz entered Rustum's tent, and So the pale Persians held their breath with found fear.

Rustum; his morning meal was done, but


The table stood before him, charged with. And to Ferood his brother chiefs came

food up

A side of roasted sheep, and cakes of bread, To counsel: Gudurz and Zoarrah came,

And dark green melons; and there Rustum And Feraburz, who ruled the Persian host

sate Second, and was the uncle of the King;

Listless, and held a falcon on his wrist 200 These came and counselled, and then

And played with it; but Gudurz came and Gudurz said:

stood "Ferood, shame bids us take their chal

Before him; and he looked, and saw him lenge up,

stand, Yet champion have we none to match this

And with a cry sprang up and dropped the youth. He has the wild stag's foot, the lion's

And greeted Gudurz with both hands, and heart;

said: But Rustum came last night; aloof he sits

"Welcome! these eyes could see no better And sullen, and has pitched his tents apart.

sight. Him will I seek, and carry to his ear

What news? but sit down first, and eat The Tartar challenge, and this young

and drink.” man's name. Haply he will forget his wrath, and fight. Stand forth the while, and take their But Gudurz stood in the tent door, and challenge up."


"Not now! a time will come to eat and So spake he; and Ferood stood forth and

drink, cried:

But not today; today has other needs.

The armies are drawn out, and stand at “Old man, be it agreed as thou hast said !

gaze; Let Sohrab arm, and we will find a man."

For from the Tartars is a challenge


To pick a champion from the Persian lords He spake: and Peran-Wisa turned, and To fight their champion — and thou strode

know'st his name Back through the opening squadrons to his Sohrab men call him, but his birth is hid. tent.

O Rustum, like thy might is this young But through the anxious Persians Gudurz man's! ran,

He has the wild stag's foot, the lion's And crossed the camp which lay behind, heart; and reached,

And he is young, and Iran's chiefs are old, Out on the sands beyond it, Rustum's Or else too weak; and all eyes turn to tents.

thee. Of scarlet cloth they were, and glittering Come down and help us, Rustum, or we gay,









not I.



Let not


He spoke; but Rustum answered with a Like some old miser, Rustum hoards his smile:

fame, “Go to! if Iran's chiefs are old, then I And shuns to peril it with younger men." Am older; if the young are weak, the King

And greatly moved, then Rustum made Errs strangely; for the King, for Kai

reply: Khosroo,

“O Gudurz, wherefore dost thou say such Himself is young, and honors younger

words? men,

Thou knowest better words than this to And lets the agéd moulder to their

say. graves.

What is one more, one less, obscure or Rustum he loves no more, but loves the

famed, young

Valiant or craven, young or old, to me? The young may rise at Sohrab's vaunts,

Are not they mortal, am not I myself?

But who for men of nought would do For what care I, though all speak Sohrab's

great deeds? fame?

Come, thou shalt see how Rustum hoards For would that I myself had such a son,

his fame! And not that one slight helpless girl I

But I will fight unknown, and in plain have —

arms; A son so famed, so brave, to send to war,

say of Rustum, he was And I to tarry with the snow-haired Zal,

matched My father, whom the robber Afghans vex,

In single fight with any mortal man.” And clip his borders short, and drive his

herds, And he has none to guard his weak old He spoke, and frowned; and Gudurz age.

turned, and ran There would I go, and hang my armor up,

Back quickly through the camp in fear and And with my great name fence that weak joy —

Fear at his wrath, but joy that Rustum And spend the goodly treasures I have got, And rest my age, and hear of Sohrab's But Rustum strode to his tent-door, and fame,

called And leave to death the hosts of thankless His followers in, and bade them bring his kings,

arms, And with these slaughterous hands draw

And clad himself in steel; the arms he sword no more."


265 Were plain, and on his shield was no

device, He spoke and smiled; and Gudurz made Only his helm was rich, inlaid with gold, reply:

And, from the Auted spine atop, a plume "What then, O Rustum, will men say to Of horsehair waved, a scarlet horsehair this,

plume. When Sohrab dares our bravest forth, and So armed, hę issued forth; and Ruksh, his seeks

horse, Thee most of all, and thou, whom most he Followed him, like a. faithful hound at seeks,

heel Hidest thy face? Take heed lest men Ruksh, whose renown was noised through should say:

all the earth,



old man,





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